Originating in the south of France, ratatouille is a dish of stewed vegetables which was made particularly famous in the movie Ratatouille. I love both the movie and the dish, so it was only a matter of time before I decided to make ratatouille in my Instant Pot pressure cooker.
Stewing or braising vegetables in an Instant Pot takes hardly any time, so this recipe makes for a quick and tasty side dish. Grill a piece of fish or chicken while the pressure cooker is on and you have a lovely, French provincial dinner in under 30 minutes.
Traditionally, ratatouille is made with tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, onion, garlic and herbs de Provence (thyme, basil, marjoram). There are many versions of this dish and some purists will cook every vegetable separately and then combine them together at the end. I like to think of my pressure cooker version as ratatouille express. Although it’s not slow cooked and has fewer ingredients for simplicity, it still retains the classic ratatouille flavour and style.
This recipe is gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan, paleo and Whole30 friendly (use regular balsamic vinegar rather than the aged, sweet balsamic vinegar).
I also wanted to recreate the presentation of the ratatouille in the movie, where the vegetables are arranged in a snail shape, overlapping each other. I think it looks beautiful, and I believe we eat with our eyes first. BUT, having said that, you are welcome to dice up the vegetables any way you wish and simply stir with the rest of the ingredients directly in the pot, before cooking begins.
- 1 large zucchini, sliced into thin circles
- 1 medium eggplant/aubergine, sliced into thin circles
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced into thin disks
- 1 small red onion, sliced into thin circles or 1/2 large red onion, halved and sliced into half moons
- 2 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon of thyme leaves (dry or fresh)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar (sweet balsamic or regular)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup water
- Slice all the vegetables (see the picture) and sprinkle with half of the thyme, sea salt and pepper.
- Line a round springform tin with foil. This is to trap all the cooking juices inside. If using a solid metal dish, then no foil is needed as the juices won’t leek through the bottom.
- Scatter some chopped garlic on the bottom. Going in circle, and alternating between eggplant, zucchini, onion and tomato slices, layer the vegetables into a tight snail. I like to start with the outer circle and make my way inwards into the middle. See image for reference. Keep the slices close together, overlapping slightly. Once in place, sprinkle with the remaining garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle over evenly with vinegar and olive oil.
- Alternative: If this arrangement proves to be tricky, feel free to layer the vegetables in no particular form on top of each other. Sprinkle some thyme, salt, and pepper in between. You can also simply dice the vegetables and combine them with garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil in the inner pot of the pressure cooker and set to cook for the same amount of time.
- Place a wire rack inside the pot and add a cup of water. Carefully, place the tin inside the pot on top of the rack (see image). Place and lock the lid, make sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press MANUAL (High Pressure) and set to 6 minutes. After 3 beeps the pressure cooker will start going.
- Once the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 6 minutes, then use the quick release to let off the rest of the steam. Carefully remove the springform tin from the pot, using tongs if needed.
- Serve on a plate in foil or transfer to a platter.